1144c - JosephSo M114c FinalPaper .One

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Joseph So M114c  Final Paper As the first African American president in the history of the United States,  Obama’s political ideology has been under heavy scrutiny since his election. One  of the most frequently asked questions within this school of thought is how  Obama’s political beliefs line up with trends of African American political thought  before him. President Obama subscribes to the Black Nationalist position that race  in America is founded upon an inherent power struggle, rather than the radical  egalitarian view of racial cooperation. However Obama’s multiethnic identity  creates an inner conflict that forces him to reject the permanent nature of racism  in American society, exhibiting a compromising idealism that has evolved to  become the basis of his bipartisanship political policy.  Obama’s struggle with racism and the conclusions he establishes growing  up share the same beliefs outlined by Black Nationalists in Dawson. As a child in  Indonesia Obama’s perception of racial relations was heavily influenced by his  stepfather Lolo. Like leading Black Nationalist Lolo believes that the relationship  between racial groups is a practical power struggle. As Lolo elaborates upon his  brother’s life he imparts upon Obama that, “Men take advantage of weakness in  other men. They’re just like countries in that way. The strong man takes the weak  man’s land. He makes the weak man work in his fields. Better to be strong, if you  can’t be strong be clever and make peace with someone who’s strong. But always 
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better be strong yourself. Always.” (Obama, 55, 2004). Dawson’s analysis explains  that Black Nationalist understood this power struggle. More specifically, Black  Nationalist understood that African Americans during the civil rights movements  could never obtain true equality if they allowed Whites to assume the position of  power. “Alliances, nationalists argue must be built between groups that have  roughly commensurate levels of power. They cannot usefully be entered if blacks  are operating from a position of relative or absolute powerlessness.” (Dawson, 61,  2001). Thus from an early age Obama’s perception of racial and social  interactions was founded upon the axiom that racial cooperation was not possible  between two races that did not exist within commensurate power levels.
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